A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Does UNDOF have a Future?

With the withdrawal of the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force from the Disengagement Zone and behind the Israeli line of control earlier this week, what happens next? For 40 years UNDOF watched over a quasi-border that was normally quiet, and provided a crossing point for Golan Druze to visit relatives on the Syrian side of the disengagement lines.

Current UNDOF Deployments (UN)
But now, the 1,250 peacekeepers are concentrated in Camp Ziouani just west of Line A, the forward line of Israeli control (see map at right). Prospects of restoring its peacekeeping mission seem dim so long as the Syrian civil war is raging just to the east, and Israelis are speculating that this could mark the end of UNDOF. (And they're noting the likelihood of an eventual Israeli withdrawal from Golan just became more remote.)

Though ISIS is getting all the attention, I think the end of a peacekeeping force in place since 1974 (if this is the end) is another ominous sign of the momentous changes the region is going through.

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